Monday, February 15, 2010

Beggin Strips Pet Parade

Every year, St. Louis puts on one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans. Part of the celebration, and one of my favorites, is the annual pet parade! We unfortunately had to leave Ollie, our standard poodle, at home because he is a bit of a jerk to other dogs. Last year we brought him with a muzzle, and he still managed to snap at other dogs!! So, this year we just brought Wembley, our Wheaten Terrier. My brother came with his dog, Schaddy, who is a rescued pit bull mix. Chris and his brother came too. Here are some (pretty crappy) photos we took while down there:

Here's our Wembley
Wembley with Chris, my brother and Schaddy, and Matt, my brother-in-law
Schaddy likes to jump
I wish this picture had turned out better, because this Scotty dog in a flower pot was so cute.
Mrs. Puddles, another Wheaten Terrier. Her owners graciously gave us some treats to share with Wembley and Schaddy, although that resulted in Schaddy and Wembley getting into a pretty serious fight (Schaddy is very territorial about food).
Dreadlock dog

David and Schaddy

Also, in the spirit of Mardi Gras, every year I make a King Cake. I wasn't going to let the fact that I couldn't go down to the Mardi Gras parade (due to my egg transfer) get in the way of tradition! Here is this year's king cake (one of them, the other I'm taking to work with me):

Recipe for King Cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Happy Mardi Gras!!!

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